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Manu Ginobili Interview




/ June 10, 2005

Manu GinobiliThe San Antonio Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons 84-69 in Game 1 of the 2005 NBA Finals. Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili exploded in the fourth quarter to help his team win. Here's what he had to say after the game:

Q. You started out slow and then you played stronger.

Manu Ginobili: Yeah, I struggled in the first quarter, especially at the beginning. I don't know if I was nervous or rusty or whatever, but I didn't play well. I realize when I went back to the bench that I was not seeing what was going on, too much thinking about going and finish. You've got to think more when you go by the first line, you know, to kick it out again, find an open teammate. So I was very upset at halftime, and I tried to calm down, play a little slower pace, and things started to go better.

Q. Your scoring obviously was big tonight but another big factor was your rebounding, your team rebounding, you were a big factor in that. Could you talk about the team rebounding and your focus there.

Manu Ginobili: Yeah, that was the thing that we talk about a lot in the last three or four days. We knew that against this team with offensive rebounders like Rasheed, Ben, Tayshaun Prince, it was very important to get some boards. And we were huge at that. I think we beat them really yeah, by 14 rebounds. So they are very good at that. I bet that the coaches are very glad that that happened.

Q. Compared to two years ago, you just talked about your patience, are you a more patient player, are you a more confident player? How has your game developed since your last trip to The Finals?

Manu Ginobili: No doubt that my confidence has been built up a lot. Now I know that even if I don't play that well at the beginning, I'm going to be on the court, and probably in the fourth quarter, I'm probably going to have the ball in my hands. So that was a big difference when, like my first year here, where I was going to play, but trying to finish some plays, playing hard defense, and, you know, I loved it, too, but now it's different. It's a whole different role. I feel that responsibility of the end of the game way more, and that's what I love doing.

Q. Obviously you got on a roll, but did you sense that maybe their energy level wasn't the same as yours, and that's why you kept going out and you wanted to keep going at them in the fourth?

Manu Ginobili: I think their energy level was good, probably not as good as the first quarter, but we really held them. We were very flat in the first five, six minutes. Then when we raised that and started matching their energy, we started doing things better. But I didn't see that they were tired or not aggressive.

Q. Tell us about what you expect the adjustments they will make come Sunday overall and against yourself.

Manu Ginobili: Well, they are going to try to play more aggressive for longer periods. We know that these two teams, the difference is going to be there, so it's very important to grind it out for 48 minutes because you can't stop playing for four or five minutes. It's a big mistake. What I expect on me is that it's going to be way harder to penetrate, probably the way it was in the first half where I didn't find any room. They were switching and collapsing a lot in the paint, so I was always going against two or even three guys. So, I know I'm going to expect that, so I don't care. I really got to try to play smarter. If they collapse a lot, try to find the open guy. I don't care or I don't need 20 points to feel good about myself, so I think I can do other things.

Q. Your fourth quarter play seemed to spark your team tonight to victory. Can you compare your fourth quarter tonight to other stretches in other past games. How does this game, how does this stretch match up?

Manu Ginobili: The emotional part of this game is so big, it's different to anything else. When I started feeling that everything was going so good for me and I was being able to finish or hit a three, the one I hit in the fourth quarter, I just felt I was, you know, great, couldn't feel better. This is an NBA Finals and the first game is always the key, so it was probably one of the highlights of my season.

Q. Talk a little about what it says about the Spurs when y'all can score 120 and run with Phoenix and then when you get two defensive oriented teams, what the difference is, how y'all adjust.

Manu Ginobili: Well, historically, this has been the way we always played, especially the last two years. We know that we have players to play faster, but playing faster, you've got to be good, because if not, that turns into a lot of turnovers, blocked shots and we don't want to do that. So we are improving the way we run, transition and things like that, but we're still not there. So if we can, it's fine. Against a team like Phoenix, it's easier because they take too many shots and most of the times you get long rebounds or turnovers and you can run faster. But against a team like Detroit, it's not that easy. They hold the ball and sometimes you back away from Tim, put the ball inside, a way for him to kick it out and make a better decision.

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